Most common Yoga Myth – Flexibility is a pre-requisite
I often find people who refrain themselves from going to yoga classes thinking that they are not flexible so they won’t be able to do the postures…First thing they would say is, “I can’t even touch my toes so what will I do in the class”
How we develop that myth?
It is true that people make assumptions looking at the images and videos available online, seeing people doing asanas that look almost “impossible to achieve”. Extensive back bends, leg splits, multiple bends at all joints to achieve a posture, head stands without support, gives shivers to a layman and they start believing that it is not for them. People also discontinue yoga classes because they are not able to attain the image of the posture that they have seen somewhere. Probably having flexibility and a lean body becomes their whole idea of being eligible for a yoga class.
Those who are new learners to the field find themselves lost in the class because they struggle with back bends, forward bends, touching toes, maintaining balance on single leg and muscular cramps while twisting at various joints. As a result they might end up with injuries like back pain, tendonitis, muscular swelling, head ache etc. and this might discourage them to continue further.
So do we actually need to be flexible?
Flexibility is a relative term, so better to drop words Flexible and Inflexible. Let’s talk in terms of ‘Range of Motion (ROM)’. It is very important to understand that Yoga is not about having a flexible body. Flexibility is one of the results of practising yogic postures but it is certainly neither the target nor a pre-requisite. Yoga is really a lot more than that petty parameter!!
We would encourage people to do Yoga practices to attain a balance between their body and mind. A healthy looking body is a result of a healthy mind. Yogasanas connect you to your body and its physiology. In fact a person with a stiff body understands his muscular setting faster than others. Considering the amount of mindfulness and power Yoga can bring to someone, it’s unfair to avoid it just because you cannot stretch an inch more.
To explain it better, when we touch our toes, it is called Uttanasana, when we cannot touch our toes, we just bend down and try to reach to our toes, it is still called Uttanasan and it still gives the same benefit to your body that it is supposed to give. Is it hard to believe!!?? Yes, It is true! Primary benefit of this asana is to stretch your hips, hamstrings, and calves, relieves stiffness of your spine, neck, and back, improves posture and improves bodily balance and co-ordination. All these benefits are achieved whether or not we are able to touch the ground. Flexibility indeed improves with regular practice. As the flexibility increases, you start enjoying the posture more and gradually, attaining a posture becomes effortless. However, enjoy the journey of improving your Range of Motion (ROM).
At Innersaga, we focus on every individual and provide them with a customised sequence designed specifically to cater to their current needs. That’s what medical yoga is about. Extensive use of props helps to attain a posture without any injuries. Support of bolsters, chairs, bricks etc helps is effortless back bends, rib-cage opening, hamstrings stretch etc… One can comfortably stay in a posture for a longer duration. Even a sequence can be designed just to focus on postures to increase flexibility, if that’s what someone aspires to achieve.
Who can practice Yoga?
Obviously, Anyone who is willing! A Yogic session gives you a holistic experience through Asanas, conscious breathing and meditation. We cannot ignore correcting our energy channels, thoughts and identify blockages in the body while spending an hour in work-out.
Don’t refrain yourself from practicing Yoga just because of some presumptions in your mind. Yoga is for everyone and can be done at any stage of life. It slows you down in a good way so that you can be faster in all other fields of life. It brings so many things in awareness and empowers us to work upon them.
For example, even a 15 mins breathing in and breathing out can make us think that when it was the last time we used our lungs to the full capacity…
We encourage you to make your workout experience multidimensional!